How to Stay Ahead of the Competition in the Pet Industry
It doesn’t matter if you’re running a small pet business start-up or a multi-site pet biz empire, you’ll always need to have one eye on the competition in order to maximise your profitability.
The global pet services market is expected to reach $50.1 billion by 2030. Exciting! But also very overwhelming. How do you stay ahead of the competition when there’s so much of it?
At bookyourpet.com we created delightful pet booking software to make doing business with you easier. Our software has been designed by PetPreneurs with decades of experience for PetPreneurs looking to automate parts of their business and reclaim their time. We collated our best advice on tips for how to stay ahead of the competition here in this article.
Grab a cup of coffee, put your feet up and let’s help you get ahead with some simple ideas.
1. Dog Walkers and Pet Sitters
Dog walking and dog sitting are arguably the easiest pet businesses to get off the ground. All you need is some decent walking shoes, a love of dogs, a warm dog bed and solid liability insurance (please ensure you’re fully insured!). It’s a low cost setup fee and a great way to build your pet business empire.
How to stay ahead of your competition as a dog walker or pet sitter:
- Be very communicative: Share images of dogs on walks, share updates on abnormal behaviors or poops, and give pet parents lots of notice if you will be away / unavailable
- Educate yourself: Learn anything and everything you can about dog behavior, body language and their physical, mental and emotional needs.
- Offer multi-buy packages or subscriptions: Let your regular clients pay monthly or in blocks. We can help you with this at BookYourPet.
- Be easy to do business with. Leave flyers in public places so people know about you and your dog business. Take online bookings and block bookings. Ask for referrals from your happy clients.
- Shout about your insurance – you might be competing with the neighor’s teenager looking to make a quick book! Show that you are a serious business and make a song and dance about your compliance and dedication to customer care.
- Have a book now button – did you know? Most people book online services between 4-8pm on Sundays. If you’re not open at that time, be open to online bookings that sync with your online schedule for easy time management and organisation.
2. Pet Photography
Pet Photography is a brilliant way to release your creativity and build a business at the same time. Yes, it is advised that you have good camera equipment, experience and ideally a qualification in photography as this will set you apart from others.
How to stay ahead of your competition as a pet photographer:
- Be specific: Are you a dog photographer? Cats? Horses? Try to niche down into the animal(s) that make the most sense – but the people too – are you for families with kids? Do you want to include the people in your photos or not? Who do you truly desire to work with (and who do you NOT want to work with). Less is definitely more!
- Develop a Style: Don’t try to be like the photographers who are already operating near you – aim to create your own signature look, editing style, locations and brand. You want people to pick you based on your product, not your price.
- Have tiered offerings: Especially when you’re starting it can be useful to have a range of 2-3 key product offerings from very, very affordable (like seasonal ‘mini-sessions’) to very premium (possibly including signature wall art or albums) – so that you can appeal to lots of budgets within your niche (see number 3 + 4)
- Be easy to do business with – put specific photoshoot dates out on your socials or your website, message your past clients with upcoming shoot dates or your availability. Here are some more tips for being easy to do business with.
- Have a book now button – this is one of the best ways to secure bookings that don’t require you to be on the phone and by your diary. Sync your bookings to your online schedule and take instant payment. Here are some more tips for the book now button and how we can help.
3. Dog Training
Dog training can be a very challenging and rewarding career. It also pays well (check out our dog trainer salary blog here). As you can see from the salary blog, there are different levels of training that command different rates of pay and often this is determined by your level of training.
If you’re serious about your dog training education, this is a real selling point. Being highly qualified is a unique selling point so never be afraid to show off your certifications.
How to stay ahead of your competition as a dog trainer:
- Build a brand: Most dog trainers rely on referrals and fill up quickly doing puppy classes and behavior consultations. If you want to have a say in the type of work you do most often, build a brand around being a specialist in that thing (and see #4)
- Educate yourself: Getting a certification from a reputable dog training course is essential. To keep everyone safe, be sure you’re only training dogs that you’re qualified to handle. Be proud of your qualifications and talk about them on your website and in your marketing. Show that you are safe, qualified and insured.
- Offer multi-buy packages or subscriptions: Let your regular clients pay monthly or in blocks. Having ‘drop-in’ classes where people can come whenever it suits them is a great way to do #1.
- Be easy to do business with – Promote yourself and your expertise in your local community. Consider partnering with local veterinarians and ask for referrals for puppies who are registered at the veterinary practice. We have written this article here to help you be easier to do business with.
- Have a book now button – make it super easy to book your services. Consider offering specific services for your specific training and making that super simple to book and pay online. Here is more advice on this.
4. Dog Grooming
Groomers are always in demand. As long as your service is quality and reputable, you should enjoy a steady flow of bookings. For groomers, the challenge is to be able to financially stand out from the competition through maximising your profitability. More finances = a growing business and more opportunities.
Standing out from the competition is all in the quality of your service. Consider investing in dog grooming courses and certifications to help you feel more confident in your role and for petparents to feel more confident in you and your expertise.
How to stay ahead of your competition as a groomer:
- Take credit cards: Many dog groomers are still quite old school, and only allow booking over the phone, and payment in cash. Don’t be like them. Start out doing #1 and #2 and make it easy for people to pay (especially for more than one groom at a time – see #5)
- Before & Afters: If you decide to have a presence on social media, plan to leverage the power of the ‘before & after’ photo. This is an easy quick win for groomers that will give people a reason to watch your videos or swipe your image carousels – all of which is good for engagement and enticing people to book their dog in with you.
- Consider offering a VIP program: Consider inviting clients into a VIP program where you get recurring / membership income, and they get perks like fast-track booking or ‘jumping in line’ to get their dog in when they need it. This is a great way to do #1 for your most loyal people.
- Be easy to do business with – offer online bookings. We know this can be difficult with grooming as there are so many variables between breed, size and coat but at BookYourPet we have considered these factors to allow your PetParents to book the right appointment for the right duration and the right cost. Plus we also add in bonus upsells like nail clipping! Here’s some more info on how to make doing business easier.
- Have a book now button – as we said, we;ve made this so powerful for dog groomers. Why not book a sneak peek of Book Your Pet for your grooming business? Have a read of the book now button article here.
In this article we’ve included some really stellar tips to get you off to a great start, no matter how much competition you face in your pet business. Don’t underestimate the power of providing great customer service, and just doing the basics really well. After that you’ll find what suits you best as you grow and try new things.
We’ve built Book Your Pet to be an absolutely essential resource forPetPreneurs who want to break into the pet industry. Our platform supports dog trainers, dog walkers and pet sitters, groomers, and pet photographers.
We aim to fundamentally transform what it’s like to run and grow a pet business and we’d love to support you on your startup journey.
Get in touch and chat with one of our pet business experts to find out how Book Your Pet can save you oodles of time and money, and make life easier for you and your clients – making your growth quicker and more fun!